Opinion | The dream is not to waste our investment in young immigrants

Opinion | The dream is not to waste our investment in young immigrants

Catherine Rampell’s excellent Oct. 7 op-ed, “Congress must save ‘dreamers’ — now,” missed only one point: the investment we have made in the “dreamers,” young people who were brought to the United States without documentation. And for those educated in Maryland, that investment represents a large part of my taxes. I don’t begrudge the expenditure, as I have no children educated here; that was all done in Canada.

I suppose we might have difficulty in using asylum as a means of granting dreamers a path to citizenship given President Donald Trump’s messing about with asylum agreements; regardless, common sense should tell Congress that the talents we have helped develop would likely be wasted in the lands from which their parents brought them, and it is not as if we have an overabundance of talent here.

Dream Act? I guess the dream is that Congress might actually do something useful in this matter. For heaven’s sake, please retain their talents and their persons here in the only country they have really known.

Robert Blackshaw, Glenwood

Marc A. Thiessen’s Oct. 5 op-ed, “Immigration reform comes after securing our border,” blamed Biden administration policies for the unprecedented number of arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border, but there’s plenty of blame to go around. Moreover, Mr. Thiessen’s prescription — first secure the border — won’t work or sell. Ask former president Barack Obama, who initially believed that his administration’s record numbers of deportations and border enforcement buildup would pave the way for broad immigration reform. Instead, Congress and subsequently the Trump administration adopted politically symbolic goals for border enforcement, “no unlawful entries” and a wall.

In fact, the United States needs all the tools at its disposal — and more — to address the crises driving migrants to the border. Yet, as is well documented, the Trump administration systematically degraded most of these other tools and capacities — development, refugee resettlement, the asylum system and legal immigration.

If the United States needs workers and desperate people in flight want to work, as Mr. Thiessen correctly argued, then Congress should bestir itself and reform the legal immigration system. More legal migration opportunities will go a long way to disincentivizing irregular migration. Political stunts and posturing only make a bad situation worse. Enforcement and legal immigration reform go hand in hand.

Donald Kerwin, Alexandria

The writer is executive director of the Center for Migration Studies of New York.

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